Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dusk till Dawn

Game face? :-)

Night races are hard to prep for. I stayed up Thursday night and got all my gear rounded up. Friday night we went out with friends, but still ended up in bed by 11pm. Got up Saturday around 10am - fixed pancakes with peanut butter and syrup - yummy. Showered up, went to Wal-mart to pick up some last minute supplies - gummi bears, twizzlers, jolly ranchers, etc. After going back home I put together the rest of my essentials then laid down on the couch for about 30-45 minutes just to chill out and relax. Got back up and fixed some pasta with marinara for lunch and loaded the car. We ate then headed out about 2:15pm. We spent the road trip up there playing 'guess that artist' by scanning through radio stations and using Shazamm on the iPhone when necessary. We made a pit stop close to KC for a bathroom break and we each got a cheeseburger. Made it to race headquarters around 5:30pm. Pulled out the gear and bike. Decided to rotate my break pads - the back one's were ate up and the front one's hadn't really been used so I just switched them out and they worked like champs. Lubed the chain, aired the tires, mounted the headlight and the bike was ready to rock.

During that time my teammate showed up so we headed up to the main tent and got our numbers and t-shirts. Went back to our campsite (well, our support crew campsite - it wasn't like we would be getting any shut eye!) and finished packing up our gear and changed into our race wear. For me I decided I was going to do pants this race - my mountain hardware trekking pants. They have drawstrings around the ankle's so I was able to roll them up to the knee and secure them with the cord for biking which was nice. Went with a black t-back tank - I usually go with sleeveless to keep from having chaffing from the pack, but I utilized lots of body glide on the shoulders and didn't have any issues. Then, of course I went with the rastaman buff, salomon XT wings & smartwool socks with the Camelbak LUXE pack.

Here we are getting ready to head up to pre-race meeting:

At the pre-race meeting we received our maps and clue sheets for the race and since it was early decided we would start the race at 8:30pm instead of 9pm. We headed back to camp and started determining our strategy.

Here we are plotting the course:

We went back to headquarters to find out the start was postponed until 8:45pm so we stood around and chatted with our friends and other teams until time to start. At 8:45pm we lined up and sang along to the National Anthem then took off. We started off with trekking - made it to the first and second checkpoints with no issues. Checkpoint three was another story - we looked on both sides of the ponds (the point should have been in between two ponds on a creek bed) and had about decided to give up and head back since the area was full of teams that had not found it. But, I have to hand it to my teammate - she spotted it and we both turned off our headlamps, punched our card and headed back to HQ to get our bikes. At that point we were rocking.

So, out on the bikes next. We had a lot of trouble with checkpoint 5 - we had both managed to get a bit lost because none of the roads were marked. About an hour into it we finally figured out where we were and that we still had a few km left to get to the point. After a dumb mid-road fall and scuffing of the knee we got going and found the point. Check point 6 we went right too, but not sure we would have found it if there wouldn't have been another team there. Some not so high on my list volunteers had hung the punch up in the tree where it wasn't visible - OK in a day race, but at night that's just silly. Regardless we got it. We found check point 7 with only a slight detour and dropped our bikes and headed out for more trekking - this time on single track. Checkpoints 8 & 9 were fairly easy. We stumbled upon checkpoint 10 a little under 1000 meters sooner than we thought we should have. At this point it was 4am and we decided we would skip the next two trekking points and go ahead and begin the canoe section so we could finish by the 9am cut-off. This was a great strategy - except for one thing - we misread where the canoe started. :( So we headed back to checkpoint 7, which was also 13, where are bikes were and we thought the canoe put in was. Well, it wasn't, it was at 12. Oops - little mistake. So, this put us up to 5am and we knew we had quite a few biking miles ahead of us - including single track. We really didn't have a choice from here - we had to just grab our bikes and head to the next biking checkpoint - 21. This meant we skipped 9 checkpoints. This is when you remind yourself that you are just out there for fun and that we were!! We biked to checkpoints 21, 22, & 23 without issue. Checkpoints 24 & 25 were single track - very rocky, steep in some areas single track. We made it through it a little slow, but we made it. My gut was giving me serious grief at this point so each bump was killing me, but my teammate was supportive and we managed to work our way through it all. Got back to headquarters in a little under 12 hours.

Just a side note - last year the teams that won finished in 8 hours - these are the people who are paid to do this stuff - they are serious about it. Last year we finished in 12 hours - we aren't paid - we do this for fun! ;-)

So, taking that into consideration the top teams finished in around 11 hours - we should have finished in around 15 hours. Not sure if it was a good idea or not, but since cut-off was 9am we just tried to get as many checkpoints as we could in that amount of time. I figure since it took everyone so long they will extend the cut-off and our strategy will be for not, but that's a chance you take.
I had the best time working with a great supportive teammate. Maybe it wasn't our day, maybe it was just a hard course, but it didn't matter we had fun and that was the real name of the game.
After the race we got back in the car - stopped off for a snack in Lawrence then I slept for a couple hours before we made another stop for actual lunch in Lamar. Pizza hut buffet - I must say it was one of the worst PH buffet's, but we ate a little then headed on home. Brady watched a movie while I slept another couple hours then woke up - hesitantly - and we hoped on the bikes to grab a bite. I was hungry for a seafood tostada, but they were closed so we went back home and had leftovers. We watched a couple episodes of Supernatural - well, I watched two then feel asleep - Brady watched four and then we went to bed. It was a great night's sleep!! Long day!
I was so sore Sunday, but I was glad we hopped back on the bikes to ride for dinner because I felt better yesterday. We even did a 18.5 mile ride on the tandem yesterday. Back to basically normal today. Tomorrow I will try to run again - we shall see!


  1. Wow!! Really good report, I enjoyed hearing about this race. Glad you had fun! This has to be quite a challenging race!! Sorry about the Pizza Hut pizza, usually they are the best?!

  2. Thanks! Yeah, I know on Pizza Hut - normally it hits the spot after long races!

  3. So you loaded up on the candy before leaving town...not like you ;-P Would have thought I was doing the shopping. Congrats on the finish....YOU GIRLS ROCK!!!!

  4. Yeah, you wouldn't believe all the candy I have left - I should share - got gummi bears coming out my ears!! Thanks!